The War of 1812 Terms
Broken Voyage, Circuitous Voyage, "Broken" Voyage, "Circuitous" VoyageThese terms were used by Britain to define a loophole within its rule of '56. If a cargo was picked up at an enemy port by a neutral nation, it could carry that cargo to another enemy port if the neutral ship made a stop at one of its home ports, thereby "neutralizing" the cargo. This rule was formally acknowledged in the British Order in Council of 1798; it was revoked in the Essex decision of 1805.
Embargo, Embargos, EmbargoedA government-ordered suspension of foreign trade. The embargo requested by President Thomas Jefferson, and enacted by Congress between 21 December 1807 and 1 March 1809, forbade American ships from engaging in foreign commerce in hopes of pressuring Great Britain and France to recognize American commercial rights as a neutral nation.
Federalist, FederalistsThis term can be confusing as it was employed to describe two overlapping but different groups. It was first adopted by those supporting ratification of the Constitution. They wanted a term that distinguished this new government from the "confederation" established under the Articles and by comparison suggested the increased strength of the new government. But they also wanted to avoid the suggestion of a too strong government—the sort that might be suggested by the term "nationalists." The term "federalist" satisfied this need. When political parties started to form during Washington's administration, the term was re-employed to identify those favoring a stronger, more assertive federal government. But it also carried other connotations—most importantly, a belief that the views of the people needed to be filtered through the experience and education of the "wise and the good."
A term for someone who favors a strong federal government. The Federalist position came about during the 1787-8 debate over whether to ratify the new U.S. Constitution. Alexander Hamilton initiated The Federalist, a.k.a. The Federalist Papers, a series of 85 essays printed in newspapers and as a two-volume edition, designed to persuade voters to accept the new plan for federal government. Hamilton wrote at least 51 of the essays; James Madison wrote fourteen, and John Jay wrote five; the authorship of the remaining fifteen essays remains in dispute—either Hamilton or Madison wrote them, or some fraction of them (the essays were each published under pseudonyms). After the Constitution was ratified, the Federalist party emerged from this ideology, and it remained closely tied to Alexander Hamilton and his views; namely, a conservative perspective that favored a strong national executive, centralized government, and encouragement of merchants, landowners, and national industry. But not all supporters of the Constitution became members of the Federalist party! James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and others who had strongly supported the Constitution later became founding members of the Democratic party, which generally stood for state's rights, individual liberties, a limited federal government, and emphasized agrarianism (farming) as opposed to manufactures and the cities that tended to develop along with them.
This term can be confusing as it was employed to describe two overlapping but different groups. It was first adopted by those supporting ratification of the Constitution. They wanted a term that distinguished this new government from the "confederation" established under the Articles and by comparison suggested the increased strength of the new government. But they also wanted to avoid the suggestion of a too strong government—the sort that might be suggested by the term "nationalists." The term "federalist" satisfied this need.
When political parties started to form during Washington's administration the term was re-employed to identify those favoring a stronger, more assertive federal government. But it also carried other connotations— most importantly, a belief that the views of the people needed to be filtered through the experience and education of the "wise and the good."
Impressment, ImpressThe forced conscription or drafting of men into military service. Great Britain claimed, as a matter of national security, the right to force British citizens into the Royal Navy. Britiain also claimed the right to intercept foreign vessels in order to search for and seize deserters from its navy as well as British citizens attempting to avoid naval service.
Jay TreatyA treaty between the United States and Great Britain, ratified by the United States Senate in 1795. Negotiated by John Jay, the treaty increased American access to British West Indian ports and established a commission to negotiate compensation for American cargoes seized by the British. In return, the United States agreed to the establishment of a commission to resolve debt disputes dating to before the Revolutionary War. The Jay Treaty triggered intense political debate. While opposition to the treaty came from several directions, southern Republicans were most outraged. The treaty's commercial clauses most benefited the North, while the debt commission established by the treaty forced Southerners to pay old debts they hoped had become unrecoverable as a result of the Revolution. Jay also failed to even raise the issue most critical to southern planters: compensation for their slaves that had been either freed or confiscated by the British during the Revolutionary War.
Republican, Republican, RepublicanismThis term described a philosophy before it did a party. Republicanism held that individuals should subordinate their interests to the common good and the aim of the political process was to identify and build consensus around that common interest. As republicanism required self-sacrifice, the philosophy also emphasized the need to cultivate a virtuous and rational electorate.
While persons across the political spectrum identified with this term, Jefferson's followers adopted the name Republican, or at times, Democratic-Republican, for their emerging party during the 1796 election.
As a party, Republicans sought to reverse the government-expanding policies of the Federalists who dominated the national government during the 1790s. Believing that common people were inherently virtuous and capable of managing their own affairs, and that governments had a tendency toward corruption, Republicans advocated a small and frugal central government.
This party should not be confused with either of the current major parties. The evolution of American political parties is much more complex. But in very simple terms, this process can be traced to the 1820s when the Democratic-Republican Party began to divide. One group would follow Andrew Jackson and call themselves Democrats. The other faction, labeled National Republicans in the 1820s, would evolve into the Whig Party. Members of the Whig Party, like Abraham Lincoln, would play an important part in the development of the modern Republican Party of the 1850s.